Melbourne success a pinnacle achievement for local breeder
Despite enjoying some truly remarkable achievements over many years, local thoroughbred identity Christopher Grace has no hesitation in labelling the results from Flemington on Saturday as the pinnacle of his racing and breeding career to date.
Grace and wife Susanna bred and own the Chris Waller trained Shillelagh who took out the Gr.1 Kennedy Mile while they also bred the John Sargent trained Luvaluva who had earlier won the Gr. 2 Wakeful Stakes. Although they weren’t at Flemington to witness their success in person, Grace advised the pair were glued to their television throughout the day and celebrated with gusto with a small group of friends on Saturday evening.
|Shillelagh PHoto: Bruno Cannatelli|
“We had thought about going over, but I was busy at work on Thursday and Friday, so we couldn’t make it,” Grace explained.
“While it would have been nice to have been there the television coverage is marvellous and we probably saw as much or more than we would have being on course.
“Chris is also remarkable in the amount of information he provides so we had up to the minute snippets on how Shillelagh was and the general thrust was that he was confident of a top performance.
“We just kept our fingers crossed she could run well but when she won it was such a marvellous feeling and one that I think rates as the best we have ever had in racing.”
Shillelagh is the daughter of Flying Spur mare Trocair who has proven to be a wonderful producer for the Grace’s after a relatively modest career on the track.
“Roger James brought Trocair for me from the Sydney Easter sale, but she never really reached her potential on the track, winning just once from a handful of starts,” said Grace.
“She is a lovely big mare and has done us proud in the breeding barn with five individual winners. That includes Tullamore who we sold to Gai Waterhouse before he went on to win the Brisbane Cup while Grazia won a stakes race last week for Te Akau Racing.
“She just returned a positive test to Savabeel after missing to him last year, so we were delighted with that news. She is getting on a bit now so we’re not sure how much longer we will breed from her, but we have retained two of her Savabeel mares along with Shillelagh, so we have plenty of ammunition from the family for future generations.
“One of those mares is Irish Dream who had her two-year-old O’Reilly filly named Dublin Rose run second at Te Aroha recently, so we’re looking forward to what lies ahead for her.”
Grace was equally excited to witness the victory of Luvaluva who was sold to John Sargent at the 2016 NZB Ready To Run Sale for $55,000.
“She was a lovely filly who looked like a nice staying type, so we’re delighted for John and his connections on how she has developed,” he said.
“She looks like she will run the Oaks trip right out so hopefully she will be in the thick of the action again on Thursday.
“Saturday’s result couldn’t have come at a better time as we have her half-brother by Per Incanto entered for the Ready To Run Sale later this month. Another top performance might just convince a few more to take a look at him.”
The Per Incanto colt will go through the auction ring from the Surrey Farm draft on Day Two of the NZB Ready To Run Sale that commences on 22 November at Karaka. – NZ Racing Desk.